Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

Get to know 49er FX athlete Helena Scutt

by Dana Paxton on 16 Mar 2013
Scutt and Henken in Miami US Sailing © http://www.ussailing.org
Learn more about 49er FX sailor Helena Scutt, who reports in from Miami and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider training camp. She discusses boat speed, team work and sharks in this exclusive report.

Thanks to the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider and US Sailing Development Team’s first training camp of 2013, Miami Yacht Club is oozing high performance as 49ers, 49er FXs, Nacra 17s, F16s, and 470s crowd the beach.

This weekend I crewed for US Sailing Development Team member Paris Henken in the 49er FX. We have each come a long way since we last sailed together – exactly three years ago in a 29er at Miami Yacht Club, in fact. Growing up competing against each other in the 29er (Paris as a skipper and me as a crew), our extensive 29er experience has made for a natural transition into the 49erFX.

Miami Beach dealt very diverse conditions in just the first three days.

For example, Saturday started as light as four knots with ocean swell but eventually picked up to over 15 knots. The shifty condition lent itself to technique work rather than speed tuning. On Sunday we stayed inside the harbor area and did lots of short course racing (theater-style) in very puffy and shifty conditions with completely flat water. Paris and I had tons of fun as evidenced by our big smiles and laughter all day.

With so many starts and mark roundings it was evident that boathandling was a strength for Paris and I, thanks to our time in the 29er. We were especially motivated to avoid capsizing after we saw a shark below our boat! Paris and Helena in the photo below.

Throughout the camp, I felt extremely fortunate to have such high-level coaches sharing their knowledge and accelerating our development as Olympic class sailors. The camp’s technical focus was clear right away when it began with Technical Director Grant Spanhake teaching aspects of sail shape. The days were packed with information and practice. For example, no time was wasted as we raced on our way out to the ocean. Competitive drive immediately flowed and focused all the teams for the long session that day.

Alongside class-specific debriefs, some talks brought the whole camp together on topics such as downwind tactics or communication by High Performance Director Charlie McKee.

One of my major takeaways was the importance of instantly switching mental focus between tactical decisions and boat speed. The focus on boat speed is especially crucial in fast boats such as the 49er FX because a small difference in percentage of maximum boat speed translates quickly to distance around the racecourse.

Another reason why Charlie’s communication talk resonated with me is that I am currently balancing college sailing and 49er FX sailing, two very different types of sailing. Ultimately there are more similarities than differences. Whether you are hiking or trapezing, playing the jib or the spinnaker: communication, teamwork, and focus are keys across classes.

Finally, I’d like to thank Charlie McKee and Senior Olympic Coach Luther Carpenter for giving me the big picture but also pointing out all the small things that I didn’t think they could see or would have noticed from the coach boat. They caught it all! But that is exactly what we need, because as Charlie says, winning medals for the USA is not going to be about doing one big thing better, but rather, about improving on hundreds of little things.

http://sailingteams.ussailing.org/

Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Sailing World Cup Miami – New challenge ahead for the 'legend'
Among the 453 sailors racing out of Regatta Park at Coconut Grove, Robert Scheidt is teaming up with Gabriel Borges Among the 453 sailors racing out of Regatta Park at Coconut Grove, Miami from 22-29 January, Brazil's Robert Scheidt is teaming up with Gabriel Borges in an attempt to master the 49er like he has the Star and Laser.
Posted on 19 Jan
Coming back stronger at Sailing World Cup Miami
Two time Rolex World Sailor of the Year and Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe will join 452 sailors Tunnicliffe has been at the top end of her profession when it comes to sailing with a string of podium finishes at high profile events which culminated in her winning a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Laser Radial.
Posted on 17 Jan
Book Wildwind Bank Holiday breaks early - and make wild savings!
If you are thinking of taking a holiday in Vassiliki over the May Whitsun bank holiday period then please read this. If you are thinking of taking a holiday at our Vassiliki centre over the May Whitsun bank holiday period then please read this. Every year, just a few weeks before the May Whitsun Bank holiday we receive a large number of rather last minute requests for our holidays on this particular week.
Posted on 17 Jan
Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships qualification system released
The Sailing World Championships are held every four years and is the largest gathering of Olympic class sailors. The Sailing World Championships are held every four years and is the largest gathering of Olympic class sailors. At the 2014 edition in Santander, Spain, more than 1,100 sailors from 82 nations attended with hundreds of thousands of spectators taking to the promenade and spectator dune.
Posted on 17 Jan
North Technology acquires North Sails Australia
Renowned Sydney loft joins North Sails worldwide network of owned lofts On January 3rd 2017, the North Sails Australia licensed operation was purchased by North Technology Group. North Sails Australia is the country's leading sailmaker with a diverse market ranging from dinghy, One Design, 18' Skiffs, cruising, racing, Grand Prix and Maxis, dating back to when Australia defended the America's Cup in Fremantle in 1987.
Posted on 16 Jan
Smeg wins first heat of 18 Footers Australian Championship
Not too long after the start, Asko, Marcus Ashley-Jones, took the lead and held on to it for the first two laps. It was third time lucky as the U flag enticed the 18 boat fleet to stay behind the line. Smeg won the pin end and tacked over to cross the fleet.
Posted on 15 Jan
Brochure For Wildwind 2017 Season Now Available!
We hope that you had a fantastic Christmas day and New Year's Eve! We hope that you had a fantastic Christmas day and New Year's Eve! Just a short note to let you know that our 2017 brochure is now available on line.
Posted on 1 Jan
World Sailing - The World Sailing Show - December 2016
December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing covering America's Cup, racing in the Southern Ocean and more. Plus, Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Sir Russell Coutts; our tribute to a spectacular year afloat along with news and views from around the world.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
2017 Sunfish World Championship NOR released
The 2017 Sunfish Youth World Championship and 2017 Sunfish World Championship Notice of Race are now available. The 2017 Sunfish Youth World Championship and 2017 Sunfish World Championship Notice of Race are now available.
Posted on 24 Dec 2016
Aon Youth Worlds - More reactions from the Medalists in pictures
The backdrop of a great spell of sailing weather made for a mix of close racing for the medals and indeed all placings. The backdrop of a great spell of sailing weather made for a mix of close racing for the medals and indeed all placings. Plus providing a stage for the sailors of the future to shine - with some very dominant performances in some classes, providing a pointer to those who will surely be satnding on the Olympic podium in 2020 and 2024.
Posted on 22 Dec 2016